The 5 Best Long-Distance Moving Companies for 2021

Moving long distance is always a stressful experience. To help you out, we researched more than two dozen moving companies and reviewed the best of the best for your next move. Keep reading to find out which five long-distance movers we recommend.
Best overall
International Van Lines
4.8 out of 5 stars
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    Full-service mover
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    Locked-in estimates
Best for in-state moves
Atlas Van Lines
4.3 out of 5 stars
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    Full-service mover
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    Locked-in estimates
Best for interstate moves
United Van Lines
4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Full-service mover
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    Locked-in estimates
Best for tight budgets
4 out of 5 stars
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    Moving and storage container company
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    No hidden fees
Best for customization
Mayflower logo
4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Full-service mover
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    Locked-in estimates
Joe Roberts
Researcher & Writer
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Published on July 26, 2021
11 min read

While there is no official moving industry definition for the term “long distance,” most companies use it to refer to moves longer than 100 miles. This can include both in-state and cross-country moves, but it doesn’t include international moves.

Any move within this 100-mile range is considered “local.” If a move you thought was long distance is actually a local move, we can still help. Go read our best local moving companies guide to find the best mover for you.

Now, onto the show.

Best long-distance movers

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International Van Lines—Best overall

International Van Lines is both a van line (a moving company that handles moves internally) and a broker (a company that outsources moves to other companies). We’ll get deeper into the differences later on, but this versatility—paired with nationwide availability—equips IVL to take on almost any move.

So what makes IVL our favorite long-distance mover?

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet Nationwide availability
Pro Bullet Auto transport
Pro Bullet Shipment tracking
Pro Bullet Full-service packing
Con Heading
Con Bullet Lengthy quote process

Why IVL is our top long-distance mover

IVL completes 10,000 moves every year—nearly 80% of those moves are long distance.1 This makes IVL a moving industry leader in terms of experience.

IVL offers all the standard moving services you can expect from a company of its size (packing, loading and unloading, temporary storage, door-to-door service, etc.), but there are two things that really set it apart.

IVL can move (almost) anything you own

Some companies won’t move specialty or bulky items like pianos, hot tubs, and boats, but IVL will handle almost anything you own. Moving these items costs extra, of course, but it beats coordinating with yet another company just to get your baby grand to your new home.

IVL also offers auto transport for cars and motorcycles, so if you have an extra vehicle, you can add it to your move inventory instead of asking a friend to drive it across the country for you.

IVL’s auto transport services also cost extra, but it’s more convenient to work with one company for all your moving needs than to hire several companies for the same move.

It has competitive pricing

Considering its strong reputation, variety of services, and years of experience, you might expect IVL to charge premium rates. But we’ve found the company’s prices to be very competitive compared to other long-distance movers.

Of course, your exact price will depend on the size, distance, and date of your move, but to help you get a rough idea of what an IVL move costs, we requested a quote for a 2,000-mile move for a two-bedroom home. Our total came to $4,749.52, an excellent price when compared to standard industry prices for long-distance moves.

To learn more, read our full IVL review.

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How's IVL's customer service?

IVL was recently awarded a spot on Newsweek's prestigious list of companies that offer the best customer service. IVL is the highest ranked full-service moving company on the list, so if you're looking for top-notch customer service, then you can't do better than IVL.

Atlas Van Lines—Best for in-state moves

If you’re moving more than 100 miles but staying in the same state, we recommend hiring Atlas Van Lines to handle your move. Atlas has over 70 years of moving experience, and its nationwide availability makes it a candidate for moves in every state.

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet AAA member discounts
Pro Bullet Shipment tracking
Pro Bullet Storage options
Con Heading
Con Bullet Mixed customer reviews

Why we recommend Atlas

Atlas Van Lines is a full-service mover with franchises in every state. Atlas feels like a friendly, local company with all the benefits of an international brand.

(Plus, Atlas is one of several moving companies that offers discounts to AAA members.)

In addition to its broad reach and long list of moving services, two other things make Atlas our preferred option for in-state moves.

It handles local and in-state moves

Since moving companies can generally charge more for out-of-state moves than in-state moves, some companies maximize their profits by working only with customers who are moving from one state to another.

This is a smart business strategy for companies with limited numbers of vans and movers, but it leaves some potential customers high and dry.

Luckily, Atlas accepts moves of all sizes and distances. Whether you’re moving to the other side of the country or just the other side of the state, Atlas has your back.

It does background checks on its movers

Moving is hard enough without having to worry about who is handling your prized possessions. In fact, some people avoid hiring full-service movers (despite the convenience) because they don’t know if the movers are trustworthy.

To put your mind at ease, Atlas does extensive background checks on all of its employees, thereby ensuring the safety of its customers and their belongings.

Read our Atlas Van Lines Review for more info.

United Van Lines—Best for out-of-state moves

United Van Lines offers all the ease and convenience of a full-service move no matter how much stuff you have or how far you're going. The company also lets you build a moving package that perfectly meets your needs, making this one of the easiest long-distance moves money can buy.

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet Nationwide availability
Pro Bullet Shipment tracking
Pro Bullet Online moving estimates
Pro Bullet Full-value protection included on every move
Con Heading
Con Bullet Varied customer service between agents

Why we recommend United

Like other companies on this list, United has been in the moving biz a long time—and it offers all the services that are standard across the industry. United has two additional standout features that make it an exceptional option for out-of-state moves.

It includes full-value protection on every move

Full-value protection (FVP) is a type of moving coverage that covers the cost of replacing your household goods if they get lost or damaged during your move. Most moving companies offer FVP for a fee, but United provides it free of charge on every move.

This benefit is especially valuable for long-distance moves because the longer your belongings are on the road, the higher the risk that something will break or go missing.

With United’s FVP, you can ship your record collection and your antique rug across the country without stressing about how much it would cost to replace them if something happened along the way.

Badge Fun Fact
Crash course: Moving coverage

You need moving coverage only when you’re moving (obviously), so most people never think about it. If you’re moving soon, we recommend learning all you can about the different coverage options available to you.

Our guide to moving coverage is a great place to start.

Its transparent pricing makes budgeting easier

Hiring a full-service mover for a long-distance move can be very expensive—and you’ll likely spend a lot of time budgeting. Unfortunately, most moving companies make you go through a lengthy in-home estimate process, which makes budgeting difficult and time-consuming.

United breaks this mold.

With United, you can get an instant estimate online. The estimate won’t be 100% accurate, but it will give you an idea of how much your move will cost—quickly. United also lists the base prices for its moving packages on its website, so you can choose a package that fits your budget.

If you’d like to learn more, check out our United Review.

U-Pack—Best for tight budgets

If you want to make your move as cheap as possible—and you’re not afraid to break a sweat— we recommend moving with U-Pack. U-Pack is a moving container company, not a full-service mover. This means that although it’s less convenient than the other companies on our list, it can save you thousands of dollars.

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet Instant online quotes
Pro Bullet Transparent pricing
Pro Bullet Shipment tracking
Pro Bullet Nationwide availability
Con Heading
Con Bullet Container locks not included
Con Bullet Full-service moves not offered

Why we recommend U-Pack

We’ll be straight with you—moving for cheap with U-Pack is more labor-intensive than moving with the other companies on this list. With U-Pack, you order containers (called ReloCubes) or trailers that you load yourself. The company then ships them to your new location, and you unload them when they arrive.

This method is still easier than renting a truck and driving it across the country. But if hauling your own fridge or sofa down a flight of stairs sounds like something you’d pay hundreds of dollars to avoid, hire a full-service mover. If you’re more concerned about saving money but still want a little bit of convenience, we recommend U-Pack.

Attempting a DIY move?

Proper equipment is a huge part of what makes professional movers so good at what they do. If you’re attempting a DIY move, you can skip the typical back pain and sore shoulders with the gear listed on our moving equipment guide.

It’s a cheap way to move cross-country

U-Pack offers free moving quotes instantly on its website, which is helpful when you’re budgeting for a big move. To get an idea of how much U-Pack can save you, we requested a quote for moving a two-bedroom home 2,000 miles. U-Pack’s estimate was $3,127.

Compared to IVL’s $4,749 estimate for a similar move, U-Pack’s prices will definitely make your wallet happy. If you’re interested in U-Pack and convenience is still a serious factor for you, the company does have loading and unloading help for hire. Keep in mind that these services will set you back a few hundred bucks and they aren’t always available.

Want to save even more money?

If you’re a student or an active-duty military member, you can take advantage of U-Pack’s discounts to knock several hundred dollars off of the company’s already-low prices.

It offers temporary storage

Coordinating every last detail of a big move can be difficult. Maybe your old home sells before you’re able to move into your new place, or you have to relocate quickly into temporary housing for a new job.

If this happens to you, U-Pack will let you leave your stuff inside the ReloCubes you rented and store them at a secure U-Pack facility for as long as you need. This will cost a little bit extra, but it can take a load off your mind in a stressful time.

Read our U-Pack Review for a more detailed summary. You can also read our report about one U-Pack customer's experience moving with the company.

Mayflower—Best for personalized service

Mayflower is another full-service mover with a nationwide reach, and its long list of add-on services make it perfect for anyone who needs a little extra help with a big move. Mayflower doesn’t provide quotes online or over the phone, but it does list the base prices for its moving packages online.

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet Customizable moving packages
Pro Bullet Shipment tracking
Pro Bullet Nationwide availability
Con Heading
Con Bullet In-home estimates only

Why we recommend Mayflower

Mayflower has been in the moving business for over ninety years, and in that time it’s learned that every move is unique and requires special attention. To make sure you get what you need, Mayflower allows you to build a move that’s perfect for your situation.

It lets you design your moving package

When you schedule a move with Mayflower, you first select one of its three moving packages:




Plus 1


Plus 2


The package price is your move’s base price, and your total price will be your package + the cost of shipping your belongings. Each package includes all the services that are typical of a full-service move, such as packing, unpacking, and truck loading and unloading.

What makes each package unique is the number of included add-on services. The Essential package comes with no add-ons, but the Plus 1 package includes one add-on, and the Plus 2 package comes with two.

Mayflower’s add-ons are services like home theater setup, debris removal, computer setup, and home cleaning. Opt for a bigger package to avoid the deep cleaning, home maintenance projects, and trips to the dump that usually follow a big move.

It can transport specialty items

Like IVL, Mayflower can move just about anything you have in your home, so you don’t have to find a separate carrier for your piano, hot tub, or car. Shipping these items costs extra, but the convenience is worth the price—plus you’ll know that your harpsichord and your classic Mustang are in good hands.

Learn everything you need to know about Mayflower in our full review.

What to do with your car

If you're moving and you need to ship a car (or two), ask your moving company if it also ships vehicles and how much it costs. Before committing, you should explore all your options, though, so check out our list of the best car shipping companies to see if one of them can give you a better rate for shipping your vehicle.

Our recommendations

To recap, all of the companies we’ve listed are more than capable of handling your long-distance move. However, their unique strengths will appeal to different customers:

  • IVL’s competitive pricing and long list of moving services make it our favorite overall.
  • Atlas is available nationwide, but it still accepts in-state moves, making it the best for in-state moves in any state.
  • United’s free full-value protection and transparent pricing make it the best for state-to-state moves.
  • U-Pack’s low prices make it the best long-distance mover for tight budgets (as long as you’re willing to put in a little extra work).
  • Mayflower’s add-on moving services make it best for unique moves that require special attention.
Heads Up
Hiring moving companies during COVID-19

All of our top moving companies are currently open for business. For status updates and to find out what each company is doing in response to the coronavirus, visit our guide to moving during the COVID-19 Outbreak.

Tell us which long-distance moving company you choose!

Whichever company you hire for your long-distance move, we want to hear about it. Drop a comment below and tell us about your experience.

If none of the movers we’ve listed sound right for you, take a look at our Best Interstate Movers guide to find a company that meets your needs.

Frequently asked questions about long-distance movers

What’s the difference between a van line and a brokerage?

Moving companies usually fall into one of two categories: brokerages or van lines. While the distinction isn’t always apparent—and some companies (like IVL) are actually both—the two operate very differently.


In general, brokerages don’t own moving trucks or hire their own movers. Instead, they outsource moves to smaller companies they trust. When you schedule your move with a brokerage, the movers who pick up and deliver your stuff will be employees of a local moving company. 

Van lines

Van lines own their own moving vans and hire their own staff, so when you move with a van line, you can expect your movers to work for the company you scheduled with.

If you want to learn more about these two types of companies, read our Moving Brokers vs. Carriers guide.

Use our moving checklist

There's a lot to keep track of when you move, and there are a few things that you might not even know to plan for. Stay on top of every part of your move by using our step-by-step moving checklist.

Should I tip my movers?

Yes. While it isn't required, tipping your moving crew for a job well done is polite and customary. For large moves, you should plan to tip your crew about 15% of your total bill. For smaller moves, 10% will usually do. Of course, you can adjust these numbers if you want to reward excellent service.

Likewise, if your crew was impolite or broke your favorite table lamp en route, it's fine to tip less.

Read our guide to tipping your moving crew to learn more.

How do I know if a moving company is legit?

Every mover on our list is an established company with a long list of reviews from satisfied customers. However, there are some shady companies out there that you shouldn’t trust with your household goods. Here’s what you can do to research and vet movers:

Read customer reviews

Many moving companies will post customer reviews on their websites, but they get to choose which reviews actually see the light of day. To make sure you’re getting the full story, read about customer experiences on third-party review sites.

Look for proof of accreditation

When you’re researching a moving company, check to see if it has been accredited by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the American Moving and Storage Association. Unaccredited movers aren’t necessarily bad, but companies with these accreditations are generally more trustworthy.

To learn more about moving scams and how to avoid them, read our guide to checking a moving company’s trustworthiness.

When is the best time to move?

The best time to move is usually late winter to early spring. That being said, in order to get the best pricing for your move at any time of the year, you'll want to start getting quotes at least six weeks before you're ready to move.

Recommended resources

Now that you know which long-distance movers are the best, check out these guides to prepare for your big move:

Joe Roberts
Written by
Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over four years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.